If you are a home cook, Mom, or chef who frequently gets in touch with Indian food, you might already know the importance of spice mixtures. In fact, these tandoori masala substitutes will be the perfect game-changer that you were looking for!

With a few other traditional spice blends from Indian cuisine, you have collectively seven options here. They are:

  1. Garam Masala
  2. Tikka Masala
  3. Curry Powder
  4. Ras el Hanout
  5. Baharat
  6. Berbere
  7. Homemade Tandoori Masala

So, let’s see how these alternatives could give the desired flavor replication.

Substitutes For Tandoori Masala- Flavor Explanation

The authentic tandoori masala mix would be a combination of flavorful spices like:

Substitutes for Tandoori masala - SpiceRally

Accordingly, you can find some widely available and simply found tandoori masala substitutes from the nearby store or your kitchen. So, here goes the list!

01 – Garam Masala

The king of Indian spice blends gets to conquer the list of tandoori masala substitutes too! In fact, Garam Masala shares a lot of common spices with our subject leader, such as:

  • Coriander
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Nutmeg
  • Black Pepper
  • Kashmiri Red Chilies
  • Ginger
  • Mace
  • Cumin
  • Green Cardamom
  • Black Cardamom

However, Tandoori masala can be milder since Garam Masala can contain other warm spices like caraway seeds, bay leaves and fennel seeds. But still, if you intend to use this in place of Tandoori mix, you can use the same amount, especially with your meat dishes.

Garam Masala is a versatile blend of spices that can be used with many dishes. We have a lot of information for you about Garam Masala spices in our article here.

02 – Tikka Masala

If you already got a tikka masala container in your spice cabinet- here comes the savior! This spice blend also comes from Indian cuisine and contain common spices like:

  • Cumin
  • Green Cardamom
  • Black Cardamom
  • Coriander
  • Cloves
  • Kashmiri Red Chilies
  • Black Pepper
  • Cinnamon

With the majority of common spices, this becomes another one of the best replacements. But sometimes, Tikka Masala could contain dry mango powder and turmeric which can give a slight taste difference and an added color. Nevertheless, it is indeed great on meat dishes like chicken, and you can use the same amount as the tandoori mix.

03 – Curry Powder

Curry powder- for marinating, seriously? Why not! You know that tandoori masala is marked as a seasoning spice mix, and you might doubt if you could actually replace curry powder with it.

Well, the tandoori mix is a little more intense than curry powder with red chili powder in it. And most curry powder mixtures could contain turmeric. With them being the main differences, most other spices share a pretty similar flavor profile with these two blends.

So, if you have curry powder at home, you can use some with your dish. But we suggest adding some cayenne pepper powder, hot paprika, or whatever hot red chili powder you have at the moment to get a better flavor resemblance.

How about the idea of making your batch of curry powder at home? You are just one click away from a simple homemade curry powder step-by-step guide/ recipe if you are interested.

04 – Ras el Hanout

If you are someone who often tries Mediterranean food, Ras el Hanout cannot be a new thing for you. And luckily, this can also be another possible candidate to replace Tandoori masala when you don’t have it. 

They both share a general set of spices such as:

  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Cumin
  • Cloves
  • Mace
  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger
  • Black pepper
  • Coriander
  • Red chilies

However, Ras el Hanout can be more robust and spicier since it could contain additional spices like allspice, turmeric, white pepper, and anise seeds. Therefore, we suggest you add it to your food gradually when you replace tandoori. You can always build up the flavor by adjusting the amounts gently.

Never underestimate the power of good food. Eating delicious food can be a life-changing experience

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05 – Baharat

Baharat can be another one of the potential tandoori masala substitutes with the common ingredients and the spicy base they carve up.

This blend includes the same spices as in tandoori such as:

  • Cinnamon 
  • Coriander
  • Nutmeg
  • Black pepper
  • Cumin
  • Cardamoms
  • Ginger
  • Red chilies
  • Cloves

In addition to these spices, it can also contain turmeric and saffron, which is known for their colorant qualities. So, when using it as an alternative, you will have to be mindful not to use too much as it can change the color of your dish completely.

If you are interested in excavating more details about Baharat, click here for our exclusive feature about the ingredients used in this flavorful Middle Eastern spice blend.

06 – Berbere

This traditional Ethiopian spice mix is another combination of powerful and pungent spices that will work well as an alternative to our subject leader. They both have common flavorings like:

  • Black peppercorns
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Green cardamoms
  • Cloves
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Red chilies

Like Ras el Hanout, berbere also can be a little intense with its additional spices like allspice and paprika. So, if you intend to use this spice blend as a substitute, adding it gradually would be your best bet.

07 – Homemade Tandoori Masala

If you find anything on our list above that wouldn’t help, the next best option is to give a chance to the inner chef in you! You can just grab the ingredients you already have in your kitchen and make your own tandoori masala mix.

The simple homemade recipe below will help you, and maybe you will not buy the tandoori mix from the store again!

Simple Homemade Tandoori Masala Mix Recipe

Homemade goodness is always the best! So, try this easy tandoori masala recipe that you can put together in a little time with the things readily available in your spice rack.

Substitutes for Tandoori masala - SpiceRally

Homemade Tandoori Masala Mix

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Additional time 10 mins
Cuisine Indian
Servings 1 Cup
Calories 253 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Blender or Food processor

Ingredients
  

Spices Needed

  • 4 tsp Fenugreek seeds
  • 3/4 Cup Whole dried Kashmiri red chilies
  • 2 tsp Cloves
  • 4 Pieces Cinnamon sticks
  • 5 Black cardamoms
  • 2 tsp Green cardamoms
  • 4 Pieces Mace
  • 1/2 Cup Coriander seeds
  • 4 tsp Black peppercorns
  • 3 tbsp Cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp Ginger powder
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg powder
  • 1 tsp Salt (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Keep a thick bottom skillet over medium heat and add the red chilies. Stirring occasionally, dry-roast them for about 6-7 minutes or until they start to emit their fragrance.
  • Remove from the heat, cool completely, pull out the stems and blend them in a food processor or a blender to a smooth powder.
  • Then, add the remaining whole spices in a skillet and dry-roast them until fragrant over medium-low heat. Watch out not to burn them, and you will only have to roast them until they are aromatic and slightly dark in color.
  • Remove from the heat, transfer to another bowl, cool entirely and blend them to a fine powder.
  • Next, combine ginger powder, nutmeg powder, and salt together in a mixing bowl.
  • Add the chili powder and whole ground spices and whisk them all together until well combined.

Notes

Tasty Notes…

  • You can use this mix immediately or store it in an air-tight glass container until use.
  • When stored properly, you can keep this blend flavorful for up to 56 months.
  • Feel free to adjust the amounts of red chilies and salt according to your taste preferences.
Keyword Spice Blends, SpiceRally, Tandoori Masala

Is Tikka Masala The Same As Tandoori?

Tikka masala and tandoori masala are two different spice mixtures that come from Indian cuisine, and they are not essentially the same. 

They have many ingredients in common, and as mentioned on our list, Tikka Masala is a good substitute for Tandoori masala. But still, they have different usages in Indian cooking.

Tikka masala usually has dry mango powder, which has the ability to give it a sour kick, and you don’t usually get this in the tandoori mix. Moreover, although both these blends are particularly used with chicken, the preparation of Chicken Tikka and Tandoori Chicken is also completely different.

Would you like to discover something more about Tikka Masala? Then, just tap here and read our detailed feature on the authentic spices used in Tikka Masala. 

So, What’s Your Pick?

All the tandoori masala substitutes we discussed on top can give a closer flavor resemblance, although they could not give the exact taste. And, you just have to pick the one that you think is best for you.

Garam Masala, Tikka Masala, curry powder, Ras el Hanout, Baharat, Berbere, and the homemade tandoori mix have a lot of spices in common. Thus, you have a pretty good choice and go for the best!

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